top of page

Soils, Séances, Sciences and Politics (SSSP)-

Seminar on the Posthuman and New Materialism

Goethe-Institut China, 798, Beijing


Address: Originality Square, 798 Art District,

Jiuxianqiao Road 2, Chaoyang District Beijing


Dates and times:

30 September 2017 11:00 – 18:00

1 October 2017 11:00 – 16:30


Bi-lingual (English and Chinese) with simultaneous translation

The seminar is free to all. Click here for reservations by September 28 (to secure place and headset for translation)

SSSP was conceived by Kristiina Koskentola and Institute for Provocation (Hu Wei and Song Yi), and is generously being hosted by the Goethe-Institut, Beijing.


Keywords:Posthumanism, futurology, Confucian take on technology, New Materialism, Cartesian dualism as fraud, environmentalism, computational algorithmic processes in light of Neo-Confucianism, human as one species among others, ecology, sustainability, biology, bodies and technological beings, non-human agency, Confucian views on the Posthuman, modernist science fiction, hybrids, pre-history as future, material-discursive labour and speech, non-carnal births (and deaths), processuality, animism, and more.

This discursive and performative 2-day seminar will open up diverse topics relevant to Posthumanism and New Materialism such as, technology, ecology, sustainability, agency, and materiality. An international group of cultural and scientific practitioners—artists, curators, researchers, and theorists—will gather to collectively reflect on these urgent issues with and through diverse art practices.


The honourable speakers and performers are Rick Dolphijn, Fu Xiaodong, Jussi Koitela, Shian Law, Liu Chengrui, Liu Yuedi, Jussi Parikka (mediated presentation), Marina Vishmidt, Jo Wei, You Mi, Zheng Bo (Click the names to learn more about thier abstracts and bios).

Video screening of works by Rumiko Hagiwara, Hu Wei, Kristiina Koskentola, Tuomas A. Laitinen, Liu Yujia, Sascha Pohle, Miguel Ángel Rego Robles, Song Yi, Tian Xiaolei, Yang Jian (Click the names to learn more).

Moderator: Kristiina Koskentola

Current economic, environmental, geopolitical, and technological developments and the capitalist exploitation of our resources have forced us humans to reconsider our actions and our relationship with our environments and among our co-beings. Rather than maintaining an entitled and arbitrary superiority, we need to rethink of ourselves as an embodied part of the world. Through mind-blowing sessions of lectures, performances, artists’ presentations, and screenings, we speculate on new possible futures, future-pasts, and alternative imaginaries. We consider how and why we need to rupture the linear narratives of Western modernism that are still dominating global art discourse and worldviews.

New Materialism and posthuman/postanthropocentric theory-practices are emerging across several fields of inquiry, including philosophy, cultural theory, feminism, science studies, and the visual arts. They challenge the superiority of the human by emphasizing the role of nonhuman agents, such as plants, animals, or computers, or of social practices. They offer alternative perspectives to materiality, signification, and to knowledge production as practice. As transversal cultural theory, this enables fluid connections, travels, and conceptualization of nature and culture, matter and mind, body and soul, thinking and being in active theory formation, and new forms of authorship.

New Materialism and posthuman/postanthropocentric theory-practices thus contest the individualism and dualisms of the Western modernist worldviews and aim to re-generate our holistic interrelationality. As such, they echo Chinese thought alongside with other Eastern monistic philosophies.

With SSSP we gather to reflect on the almost magical heterogeneity and interconnectivity of earthly and cosmic conditions through a contemporary lens and transcultural perspectives. We will look into and discuss from diverse fields and practices, for example, how artistic work, entangled with myriad forms knowledge, might generate new thinking about matter and processes of materialization, and generate inclusive relationships among the human and the nonhuman. We will explore how these entanglements with other co-beings, entities, and things, in turn, might address pressing ethical and political challenges, and global and cosmic interrelationality and kinship.



*Whilst the lectures open up the diverse topics to the audience it is advised to take an advance look at the accompanying publication, especially the glossary and the abstracts, in order to make most of the seminar.

Glossary download:                                            Day-to-day program download:

For people who cannot come to the site, you can watch the live streaming via the links below:

Day 1

Day 2

Collaborative partners:

Co-founded by art collectors Mr. Wang Bin and Mr. Xue Bing, the New Century Art Foundation (NCAF) is a non-profit foundation committed to the study and promotion of Chinese contemporary art.
 Registered and accredited by the civil affairs bureau, NCAF aims to carve out more and better platforms for the promotion of Chinese contemporary art and to imbue more supportive vitality to the development of Chinese contemporary art within the existing art system through insightful observation and research into art.

The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institution of the Federal Republic of Germany, operating worldwide. When the Goethe-Institut Beijing was established on 1 November 1988, it was the first foreign cultural centre in the PRC. From the beginning, it devoted itself to the promotion of the use of the German language, to provide access to knowledge and information about Germany, and to cooperate with Chinese partners in various cultural fields such as music, dance, theater, film, visual arts and architecture.

Institute for Provocation (IFP) is a Beijing based independent art organization and project space founded in 2010. Combining the study of theory and artistic practice, IFP aims to combine cross- disciplinary knowledge and stimulate cultural exchange and production in a collective approach. IFP organizes and advocates various kinds of activities, including artist residency, research project, discussion, exhibition making, workshop, publication, etc. on the basis of considering the dynamics of the relationship of independent art space with the society.

Media partner:

SSSP is generously supported by

bottom of page